Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.
This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable. – Goodreads
The Sky is Everywhere does not start off lighthearted, we quickly find out that Lennie, our narrator, sister has recently died. Lennie goes from being behind the scenes, and how she likes it, to being the center of attention. She also doesn’t know how to handle her feelings. Is it okay to go back to normal? Is she supposed to forever be smothered in grief?
…it feels both amazing and disconcerting to have someone in my arms shaking from laughter rather than heartbreak. —pg 25, eBook
Lennie isn’t a fan of love, if only because of the experiences her sister gave her when she fell in love.
I liked love safe between the covers of my novel, not in my sister’s hearts, where it made her ignore me for months on end. –pg 34, eBook.
Because of this the last thing she expects is to hang out with her sister’s boyfriend and be thankful that someone..anyone understands her. And for her, at this moment in her life, that’s Toby, the quiet boy that her sister loved. And Lennie feels horrible about this. She feels extreme guilt for essentially grieving the only way she knew how. And then there is Joe, the new boy who didn’t know her from before and only knows her as she is now, and is okay with that.
“I just want to be near you,” he whispers. “It’s the only time I don’t die missing her.”–pg 61, eBook
What I enjoyed more than Lennie working through her grief was the strong female friendship that she had in this novel. My friend Lauren and I were recently discussing how we love books that have strong female friendships and Lennie has Sarah. Lennie also has her grandmother. While her mother left Lennie and her sister, her grandmother has raised her and is a mother figure for Lennie. This also means that while Grams is grieving herself, she is worried about Lennie, because no one is really sure if Lennie is grieving.
Sending out a search party for our friendship–pg 179, eBook
It was nice to see that when Lennie was failing at part of her life, in this case friendship, her friend Sarah had no problem calling her on that bullshit, just like a realistic friendship. True, close friends, have a messy friendship. It’s not always neat and pretty, it’s often messy and ugly, but full of love, which is what Lennie and Sarah had though out The Sky is Everywhere.
Nelson also doesn’t hide from the awkward and the ugly side of grieving that Lennie faces, from kissing her sister’s to boyfriend, to being a hypersexual being and being not sure what to do with that. Throughout the novel, Lennie was a real teenage girl to me. There were painful experiences that Nelson told that hurt my heart and made me want to hug Lennie.
Told between poems that Lennie writes, and her point of view, Nelson takes the reader on an unforgettable journey. That journey makes me wish I would have read this before I’ll Give You The Sun because I believe I would have enjoyed I’ll Give You The Sun more.